Q: Where are your hometowns?
Marc: I’m from Scotland but I moved to New York a few years ago and all the guys are born and raised in N.Y., we cover every borough apart from Brooklyn
William: Yeah, I grew up in Queens, Mandy grew up in Queens, Jesse our keyboard player grew up in Staten Island, our drummer grew up in the Bronx, and Murph grew up outside of Brewster. I don’t actually know where it is.
M: I’ve grown up for the last six years in Manhattan
W: Yeah, we’re in concrete jungle in N.Y. Subways and taxis and huge buildings.
Q: When did you become interested in music? Who/What inspired you?
W: I think, I mean all of us got into music at a very early age. Well, I know Mandy had been singing basically, maybe even before she could talk. She did like a talent show when she was in kindergarten and just floored all these people. Etienne also comes from a background of musicians. His father is an incredible drummer and like used to play in a band that the Ramones would open for and he played with Blondie and stuff. I got into music at a pretty early age. My dad always played like a bunch of different instruments, but then my cousin got a guitar and I was like “that’s the coolest thing ever,” and so I wanted to be just like him. So I got into that and just started playing music.
M: I think everyone’s parents were all very musical and everyone just grew up around music. It was just a natural thing for everyone to take over.
Q: What has been your favorite act to work with so far?
M: There’s so many…Off the top of our heads, I mean definitely like The Mowgli’s were a lot of fun. Twenty One Pilots, I think was probably the best tour.
W: It was because, I mean you just learn so much on any tour..
M: I think that was the most schooling tour. It was just so many levels above anything we have done. I mean we went from places with about 500 to 600 people and going to like 5000 a night.
W: We were lucky, we were also doing support with Vinyl Theatre who played before us who were great dudes. I think they were on the same label as Twenty One Pilots, and all those kids are so sweet. It’s definitely hard to pick a favorite one.
M: You take everything from every tour and to me, the first ever tour we’d done with a band called Half Moon Run, that’s where we met our sound guy, he was doing sound for them. But they’re one of my favorite bands. I had never heard of them and we got to open for them, and it was a small tour, but it was just like “these guys are so good!” Just listening to that record all the time.
Q: Favorite place to go to?
W: I think one show that definitely sticks out for us on our headlining tour was Houston. We were down there and we had just played in Dallas, we had been moved up from a room of 400 people to one that had 1600. It was the most insane crowd of all time. You just couldn’t hear anything because of how aggressively loud they were.
Q: How in touch are you with fans?
M: As much as they want to be in touch with us I guess. We have a hard time with the concept of fans, like we just can’t believe we’re getting to do this. Definitely want to talk to as many people as we can. Sometimes you don’t have time to do it, or I feel like the more people that are starting to listen to your music, the harder it is to reach out to everyone. We did get a phone when our album came out and like tweeted the number, and like people called us, but then it was just like “oh my God there are so many people,” and people were like, “we tried to get through like a hundred times” and you’re like “what?”
W: We’ll definitely try to bring that back, but yeah, I mean we just try to be as in touch as possible through a variety of social media, and just from the shows too. It’s crazy to like, I kind of relate cities now not to the actual structures of the city but to the people who are there. You look forward to seeing like a bunch of those guys.
Q: Favorite interaction with fans, crowd or group of people?
W: Well there was one cluster of kids, who we’re all still really close with, on the Twenty One Pilots tour, that were just so dedicated, they were like the nicest kids ever and they were willing to like drop anything that they were doing so that they could go to a show, but they weren’t able to get tickets to a lot of them, so what we would do is put them on the guest list and they became kind of like a second family. While we were on tour, we would see them in front of every line and they were always hanging out.
M: Yeah they were really sweet. They used to write notes. I still have all the notes that they wrote. They were really good kids. They were friends forever. That’s what I think is really cool, kids that are lining up before the shows are all becoming friends, and then you see online people talking to each other because of us and them becoming friends through mutual things of us. That’s really cool.
Q: Describe your genre of music in your own words?
M: Colorful is a very good word to use. I think it has a little bit of everything in it. It’s got ups and downs…
W: …Lefts and rights
M: Yeah, sides to sides
W: It’s just all over the place. I mean it’s hard to do it contextually like “oh is it rock or is it indie or is it pop?”
M: It definitely fits under the “pop” umbrella I would say
W: There’s elements of soul though.
M: I feel like every member of the band comes from drastically different musical backgrounds in what they grew up listening to and stuff. Mandy’s definitely very Motown-esque. You know, everyone has their things, and Mandy will write the songs on piano and the lyrics and we’ll all come into the room and kind of throw in our flavors, and I think that coming from such a different thing that’s how the band sounds how it does I guess.
Q: How do you balance your career with other obligations?
M: It’s really tough; we were just actually talking about this. My friend just asked me to be the best man at his wedding and I can’t, we’re in California. So like for that side, I guess it’s the one downside of getting to live a dream.
W: I love it. It’s not a downside to me
M: What, no one’s asking you to no weddings?
W: I was asked to be, and I said “dude, I will literally tell you the day before if I’m able to go to your wedding, let alone whether or not I can be your best man,” and sure enough two days later he sent me a text that said “dude you’re playing a show on my wedding” and I was like “oh, well I’m out bro.”
M: You just can’t plan, I mean [the career] has to come first, and you know, all your friends definitely understand, your family understands it, it just comes with it.
W: I think that’s really the only reason we’re able to do what we do. We all come from a set of family and friends who are very understanding.
M: Yeah, everyone’s definitely really proud of us, and what’s going on.
Q: How do you pump your selves up for a show? Any pre-show rituals?
W: I think each of us individually thinks about what we would be doing as an alternative to the band. All of us would work day jobs while simultaneously playing in the band and trying to get this to work.
M: We definitely have rituals that us as a band do, which is like silly little things.
W: We have this thing where we put our hands in…
M: Mandy will give us a speech and she’ll do whatever and she’ll just say, “when I say ‘mister’ you say ‘wives.’ I think in my head, I always just think when I go out, “this could be the last time we go on stage,” like every time we go on stage, I always just think “this could be the last time I get to do this” so just enjoy it as much as you can.
Q: What do you do in your downtime (if you have any)?
M: Currently it’s poker. We have such long drives and long times in the bus. We’ve all gotten into playing poker, which I’m terrible at…
W: Marc and I are good at it because we like giving away our money to people.
M: I think everyone’s downtime is playing their instruments. That, and I got really obsessed with tennis a few years ago, and I’m itching a bit to play tennis. Etienne’s a really good tennis player. Etienne’s good at everything, he’s one of those kids who if you invent a game he’s just somehow good at it. He’s always good at stuff. Which I guess he’s a drummer so he’s a very coordinated person.
Q: Ideal vacation?
W: This. I think I get anxiety when we get time off. On our last tour they had to like reschedule two shows and I woke up on the bus and we were home and I kind of had a nervous break down, ‘cause I was like, “I need to be mentally prepared to be home.” To me this is what vacation is.
M: We live in each other’s pockets I think. When we all separate and go home, after a day everyone’s like “what are you guys doing?” I really would love to go to a tropical place, like something that looks like Windows 2000’s screensaver, something that just looks like that. I definitely want to just do nothing, go someplace and do nothing.
W: I’d really like to go to Russia. Pretty much the opposite.
M: Totally the opposite.
Q: Special talents that most people don’t know about you?
M: Etienne can juggle. Murph can speak like three or four languages, which is pretty amazing. Will got a perfect score on his SAT’s.
W: I don’t know if that really counts as a talent.
M: I think it’s pretty amazing.
Q: Ultimate goal as a band?
M: Mine was to go to Japan, seriously, to get to see parts of the world you would never go to and go and play music is insane.
W: I think it’s just continuing to do what we’re doing and grow to different audiences. I mean we’ve been really lucky in terms of the exposure we’ve gotten from MTV and Spotify, and we’re excited about keeping doing what we’re doing.
M: Just don’t want it to end.
Q: Guilty Pleasure?
W: Breaking Bad is the greatest television show of all time, I’ve actually tried watching other series and I just get upset because it’s not Breaking Bad, so I’ll just start watching Breaking Bad again.
M: Will just runs through them. Mine is just honestly junk food. I just eat so much chocolate, like snacks or anything I can just eat. Jesse’s is ice cream for sure.
W: Jesse loves his ice cream.
M: Yeah, healthy living. Mandy is such a great cook and super vegan and so healthy, and I think the rest of us are just…I think she looks at us like “oh my gosh, get me off this bus!” She’s amazing to be stuck with all guys. I think we’re kind of clean, we always try our best to like keep things clean and stuff, but Mandy’s a saint for putting up with us for sure. Like I ordered a cheese Panini and she’s like “Just a cheese Panini!” She always makes fun that I have the blandest food ever while her plates are always so colorful.
M: The album is available on iTunes and on Spotify.
W: We’re excited about the festivals we’re doing this summer. I think we’re doing Hang Out Fest and Lollapalooza, Outside Glance, Sweet Life, a few others, so we’re excited to be a part of all those, because they’re like festivals that we always wanted to go to but because of our schedule we were never able to. So to not only be able to go, but then to be on the opposite side of the stage is crazy.
M: We also got invited a couple of weeks ago to go to the White House, which was really cool, and we got an email from the office of Michelle Obama and we were like, “Oh who’s playing a trick on us here?”